SRIVAISHNAVAM SLOKAM 24: “AN INEFFECTIVE SURRENDER”
yO vikramENa manujatva vibhooshaNEna
dEvam varam varuNaraajam aja! jyEshTaa: /
kritvOpadaam dasaratham vidhi rudra mukhyai:
dEvai: sthutas cha , sa kilEmdrajitaa jitOsi //
“Oh! Birthless one! Being a human being, how did you vanquish VaruNa
Ocean king? How did you bring back your revered father all the way from
Is it not because you are the Supreme? This being so, how did you stoop
obeisance to VaisravaNa, Yama, Indra, MahEndra, VaruNa, the three eyed
rider with the bull flag, and Brahma etc and acted as if you were bound
“Naagapaasam” aimed at you by Indrajit? If these were not mere enacting,
else could they be?”
• When Emperumaan asked what he should do to cross over to Lanka,
consultation with Sugreeva and others suggested that Rama should
the Ocean King (Samudra Raja). This was because he had a precedent in
surrender to Sri Rama becoming successful. “samudram raaghavO raajaa
• It is seen that normally in the world the practice is for the
surrender to someone not only strong and capable but also willing to
• Emperumaan is “SarvalOka saraNyan” – “the ultimate refuge of
all”. It is the
celestials who surrendered to him for protection. He has no need to
anyone else. But, he wanted to respect the suggestion of a Parama
VibheeshaNa. He lay on a bed of grass (Dharba sayanam) and did
pratisayanam” for three days requesting the Ocean king to give way.
• This is known in Sanskrit as “pratisayanam” and in Tamil as
“vaDakku iruthal”. Actually, it was not “saraNaagati” in the strict sense. Therefore, the
whether it fulfilled the angas of Prapatti like “aanukulya Sankalpam”
“tata: saagara vELaayaam darbhaan aasteeyam raaghava:/
anjalim praangmukham kritvaa pratisishyE mahOdadhE //
baahum bhujaga bhOgaabham upadhaaya arisoodana://”
• Swami Desika makes it clear that this was Pratisayanam:
“ivviraNDu iDamum saparikara pratisayaandhi pradaanam”
• He has also mentioned the same in both Sri Mahaaveera Vaibhavam
SooryOdayam as follows:
“pratisayana bhoomikaa bhooshita payOdhi pulina” • When the Ocean king did not respond initially, Sri Rama angrily
to bring his bow and that he proposed to dry up the ocean:
“ chaapam aanaya soumitrE! Saraams cha asi vishOPamaan /
saagaram soshayishYaami padbhyaam yaantu plavangamaa://
• It is seen that later when the Ocean king surrendered to Sri
Rama, he told the
Ocean king that having raised a “RamabhaaNam” it cannot go waste and
where it could be directed. The Ocean king suggested that it be
a couple of his enemies who were tormenting him at the Western tip of
“samudrathaik kurithu toDutta ambai samudra abhimaani purushan
saanutaapanaai saraNagatan aagaiyaalE, dvishatigaL pakkal
krityattai EriDum kaNakkilE samudra virOdhi
kaLaana paapishTar pakkalilE Evinaar” (Abhaya Pradaana Saaram)
• Swami Desika says: “Because, none could survive from the arrows
and because a capable person cannot surrender to a weakling, the
Sri Rama failed”
• “PerumaaL kaiambum aaNdavar allaamaiyaalum saraNaagati paliyaadu
(Swami Desika in SaraNaagati Taatparya prapanchama)
• It is OK fir you to have brought down the Ocean king to his
knees. But, how
come, you acted as if you were bound by the “naaga paasam” darted at
kritvOpadaam dasaratham vidhi rudra mukhyai: dEvai:
• He cites several other instances to substantiate that Rama was
• By what human power could he bring to earth Dasaratha from the
“Esha Raaja vimaanastha: pita Dasarathas tava/
kaakutstha! maanushE lOkE gurustava mahaayasaa://” ------------------------------------------------------------
SLOKAM 25: “A PREPOSTEROUS CORONATION”
Abdim na tEritha jigEta na raakshasEndram
Naivaasya janjita yadaa cha balaabalam tvam /
Nissamsaya: sapadi tasya padEbhy abhishincha:
Tasya anujam katham idam hi vibheeshaNam cha//
“Oh! Lord! You had not yet crossed the southern ocean. You had not yet
RavaNa, the King of Raakshasas. You had not yet assessed the relative
and weaknesses. When these were not done, how without a trace of doubt
to rejoice in the coronation of VibheeshaNa as the King of Lanka
RavaNa, while still being on this side of the ocean?
• “It is usual for the victor kings to nominate someone to rule
conquered territory only after defeating an enemy king in battle. But
• “You had not even crossed the ocean, let alone conquering your enemy. You had
not even assessed the relative strengths and weaknesses of either side.
not know the extent of the size, power and strength of the enemy‟s
you proceeded to coronate VibheeshaNa as King of Lanka”. You declared
“I swear to make you king of Lanka”
“raajaanam tvaam karishyaami sathyam Etat sruNOtu mE”
• “This would be possible only for one who was sure of his victory. As You were
Paramaatma and because you are “Sathyasankalpan” (one who can
one had intended), you could do this. No ordinary human could ever
act the way you have done in this case.”
“yat kinchid vatatE lOkE sarvam tad mad vichEshTitaam/
anyO hi anyat chintayati svachchandam vidadaamyaham”
2. VILAKSHANA MOKSHAADHIKAARI NIRNAYAM - Part 11
SOME OBJECTIONS AND THEIR CLARIFICATIONS
by SRI ERUMBIAPPA
While discussing about “sadaachaaraya LakshaNam” and “Sad Sishya
LakshaNam”, Sri Erumbiappa made a few observations on “Ahaara Niyadi”,
“Sahavaasa Niyadi” and “Anuvartana Niyadi”. He gives further
What foods should be avoided?
What Swami Desika has catalogued in his “Ahaara Niyamam” as the foods
should be avoided, Sri Erumbiappa has indicated in brief as follows:
• Those that have been specifically prohibited in the Saastras.
This is because such foods would trigger RajO and TamO guNas.
• Those that have contact with those other than Saatvikas.
This is because, Saatviks would be choosy on partaking only those foods
conducive to augment Satvva guNa.
• Partaking of food in “Sraddhas” and other “nimitta” karmas.
This is because, it is sinful to accept “nimantraNam” in “apara
kaaryams” especially “EkOdishTam, SapiNDeekaraNam” etc. Such foods are also
For this reason Praayschittams have been prescribed like reciting
“Gaayatri Japam” etc as follows:
30,000 Gayatris or half of it or Seabath + not accepting
nimantraNam for ONE
Nimitta sthaanam: 10,000 Gayatris + Not accepting nimnatraNam
for 6 months.
Pitru Sthaanam: 6000 Gayatris Plus not accepting nimantraNam
ViswEdEvars: 4,000 Gayatris + not accepting nimantraNam for
VishNu Sthaanam: 3,000 Gayatris +not accepting nimantraNam for
- Oona maasikam: 1000 gayatris + 10 days
- Maasikam: 600 Gayatris + one week
- Abdeekam: 500 Gayatris + 3 days
(Authority: Sri Desika Darsana Diary & Guide)
There have been instances in which some who officiated in these
not only not observed these prohibitions but in rare cases were also
partake in MORE THEN ONE ONE SRADDHAM ON THE SAME DAY!. It is needless
mention that they would not have recited Gayatri for the number of
required. This are unconscionable omissions and it will be the duty of
to ascertain the reliability of such persons before inviting them to officiate
in any of these sthaanams. That is why in the olden days, only close relatives
who could be relied on for uopholding stict aachaaram and anushTaanam were
requested to serve in the various sthaanams.In the absence of proof, we have to
give the benefit of doubt and make do with what we have!
• Along with these, Sri Erumbiappa advises not consuming what are known as “MaNa
chOru” and “Vilai chOru”
• “MaNa chOru” is taking food in marriages.
This is because when food is prepared on a mss scale for feeding a large number
of guests, any contaminations occurring might render the food not fit for
consumption by Saatviks.
• “Vilai chOru” means food bought from vendors. In fact, sale of
vikriyam) is considered sinful. Buying and consuming such food is even more so
• That is why our elders never ever took food outside (paraannam) and never ever
ate in hotels or other eateries. This holds good not only for weddings but also
for any “partying” where food is mass produced.
• By this, it implies that eating at “Fast food joints” is clearly
• In fact, in the olden days, those strict in their Aachaaram, while going on
KshEtraaDanams,or long tours used to take what is known as “satthu maavu” - a dry powdered food prepared at home that can be mixed and eaten with milk or
yogurt, without violating the dietary regimen. And, they would not even drink
water outside (let alone “para annam”) but take boiled water in “Gooja” (not
water bottles!) that last for the entire duration of their journey. ============================================
• Food contaminated with hair, spittle etc.
This is self explanatory and as simple as hygienic requirements like our not
using the toothbrushes used by others.
People whose contact should be totally avoided:
• Those who cannot distinguish between body and soul (sareeraatma bramam)
• Those who propitiate deities other than Paramaatma.
• Those who may pray to Paramaatma but pray for petty worldly
• Those who adopt means other than Bhagavaan for realizing their
• Those who are “Pratikulars” should be shunned like fire and serpents.
• Those who are “anukulars” should be befriended and their company sought after.
These are “Sahavaasa Niyadi”
• One should not run after politicians and political forces as
lead to “moneymaking” exercises as the prime motive in life and contact
undesirable elements in society thereby jeopardizing one‟s spiritual
• It should be remembered that any monetary inflow through Dharmic
means is the
result of one‟s “puNya karma” and Bhagavaan‟s grace.
• Always following the way shown by Sadaachaarya is the right way
Sri Erumbiappa proceeds to clarify certain objections raised by some
We celebrate Sri Rama as the incarnation of Lord for upholding
when AnjanEya meets Sri Sita at AsOka vana, he says that unable to bear
pangs of separation from his sweetheart Sri Rama forgot the days when
company he consumed meat and wine:
“Na maamsam RaaghavO bhunktE na cha api madhu sEvitE‟
If this were so, why not we follow the example of Rama in eating meat
boozing? How is it correct for the dietary regimen to forbid these in
• Lord Rama did not transgress anything prohibited. He was only
rules applicable to the warrior classes (Kshatriya Dharmam). They were
in the Saastras to consume these. We cannot say that in this he
violated any of
the norms stipulated for his “varNa”. But, vEdantins who follow the
Sattva, who have done Veda adhyayanam should not even think of
resorting to such
practices. VaishNava Achaaryas are far superior to “VarNaasrama Dharmas”. Those
who are adherents to this Achaaram will deem
it a great sin even to think of consuming these.
• Another reason is that meat and booze are usually offered to petty deities
(kshudra dEvatas). Partaking of such food offered to them will not be resorted
to by Paramaikaantins, who will never regard petty deities even by default.
(marandum puram thozhaar)
It is seen from Srimad RamayaNa that there were occasions when Lord Rama
worshipped Rudra, Indra and others. If so, what is wrong if we follow his
example and partake their remains of offerings as “Prasaadam”?
• Rama worshipping other deities:
This story of Sri Rama worshipping Siva in RamEswaram is not found in the only
authentic Srimad RamayaNa of Sage Vaalmiki nor in Kamba RamaayaNam that closely
followed the original. It has, however, appeared in some other versions that are
• He is, however, seen visiting the temple of “vana dEvata”, the
on the outskirts of AyOdhya at the time of his proceeding on exile (vanavaas).
This again was done as part of “Kshatriya Dharma” according to which Kings and
princes were required to offer prayers to such deities as a formality. Lord
Rama, though an incarnation of Paramaatma was first acting as a human (aatmanam
maanusham manyE) and secondly, as a Kshatriya.
• During the war, he propitiated “Aaditya”, the Sungod, through
“Aaditya Hridayam” at the behest of Sage Agastya. “Aaditya” was the grand sire
of the “Suryavamsa” to which Rama belonged. It was but proper for “Sri Rama
Chandra of Surya kula”, to offer prayers to his ancestor and that too in
deference to the mandate of the great Sage, Agastya.
In fact, he was only discharging one of the triple debts to which a human being
is heir to, namely “Pitru ruNam” in propitiating Sun god.
A Paramaikaanti for whom Lord NarayaNa is the food, drink and enjoyment
(Taaraka, POshaka, BhOGhya), will never resort to worshipping such petty deities
nor partake offerings to them as “Prasaadam”.
I have known that Paramaikaantins do not recite this “Aaditya Hridayam” at all
because they know that Lord NarayaNa is Supreme and that Surya is only a
A question may be asked why we invoke the names of some of the petty deities
like Savitru, Brahma, Rudra etc in our Sandya vandanam and other chores, Achaaryas explain that when a certain procedure is prescribed in the Saastras
(including mention of the names of such petty deities) we have no option to
leave them out. Similarly, where such inclusion is not stated in the Saastras,
we have no option to include them in our prayers.
In the specified contexts, one is said to offer obeisance to the indweller of
these deities (antharyaami) who is none other than Sriman NarayaNa and this
excuse cannot be availed of in other contexts according to our whims and
The CharamaslOka of Bhagavad Gita states “sarva dharmaan parityajya”
that one should give up all dharmas. For giving up some habit, one has to have
practiced it earlier. This means that one has to have these habits in the first
place at least for “giving up” later. Only a dharma that had been in
could ever be “given up”. So, if we want to live up to the command of
Charamasloka, we should indulge in such practices like eating meat and drink
• What is “Dharma”? Those that are the means for realizing the
objective of life
(mOksha) that is, true enjoyment here and in the hereafter are Dharmas. Meat
eating and wine consuming cannot be regarded as the means to realize this goal.
• The CharamaslOka only asks to give up “Dharma”. The inference is
that a true
vEdantinwill not indulge in “adharma‟ in the first place, which
ingesting the above (as not sanctioned in the Saastras).
• In fact, Dharma does not even refer to material benefits like a
obedient children, wealth, health nor Swarga or other celestial
• We have to ponder over the context in which Lord KrishNa has
word “Dharma” in the CharamaslOka.
• Lord KrishNa was advising Arjuna on the 32 different “vidyas” forming part of
Bhakti yOga, after expatiating on Karma yOga, Jnaana yOga etc.
• Anyone of these 32 vidyas had to be done incessantly in a
“tailadhaara” fashion (i.e) like the uninterrupted flow of oil and that too over
after which only it can yield the desired results.
• Arjuna felt helpless in doing any of the yOgas including the
vidyas and was
scared of the delay involved and felt thathe had very little time left
to pursue any of them. To dispel his sorrow, the Lord offered to stand
place of those Dharmas which Arjuna could not adopt and therefore, had
given up as beyond his capacities. The Lord means “Having virtually
given up all
hopes of performing any of the Dharmas, Surrender unto me. I shall
(mOkshayishyaami)” and offered a reassurance “Do not grieve” (Maa
is the real purport of the CharamaslOkam.
• If the objection is upheld, it will tantamount to a license to
that is proscribed in the Saastras, including meat eating, boozing, and
other heinous crimes like perjury, falsehood and even murder.
• A vEdantin will not, in any case, resort to “adharmam” in order to “give them up later. The question of first doing adharmam and then giving it up
not arise at all. CharamaslOka does not say “Do adharma first and then
Even if it does not say so explicitly, can we not draw an inference
CharamaslOka obliquely conveys the sense that one may indulge in
“adharma” in order to “give it up”?
• The word “Dharma” has to be taken in its absolute sense. The CharamaslOka
refers to Dharma in a positive sense of virtuous acts prescribed in the Saastras, because a true vEdantin will in no case resort to “adhrama” (i.e) acts
prohibited in the Saastras.
• When one strives to secure a wholesome life, the prerequisite is the conscious
avoidance of evil acts and performance of virtuous ones.
• In the context of CharamaslOka, it can be seen that after elaborating on
Karma, Jnaana and Bhakti yOgas (which are all Dharmas), the Lord advises Arjuna
to give THEM up, if he felt incapable of adopting THEM and surrender unto him.
• Also, indulging in “adharma” per se is transgressing the
commands of the Lord
and no true devotee will ever dare to entertain the prospect of such violation
inviting the wrath of the Lord and self destructive of “sEshatvam” (service to
the Lord) - the natural disposition of the Jivaatma (Atmaswaroopam) • These are machinations of Non-vEdic philosophies which the Lord condemned in
the “Gita Saastram” in the words of Nammaazhwar:
“piNakkara aru vagai samayamum neri uLLi uraitha KaNakkaru
• It is sacreligious to import such interpretations to the voice of the Lord
meant for spiritual elevation of souls. If we adopt such
have been condemned by our seers and sages, we will be heading only towards
• It is, therefore, clear that one should avoid consciously - spittle, amEdhyams
(i.e) those that are not conducive to “medha” (intellect) should
like onions, garlic, drumstick, mushroom etc detailed in Swami Desika‟s “Ahaara Niyamam”
If Bhagavaan is the antharyaami of all sentient beings and insentient matter, and all of them are enjoyable (bhOghyam) to him, how could Bhaagavatas pledging allegiance to him discard selectively such edibles like
onion, garlic, mushroom etc, mentioned in the previous question?
• We should understand as to which state of Chetanas everything becomes
enjoyable. It is only when a Bhaddha jeevaatma (embodied soul) transcends this